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Stress and Weight Gain

As we enter the holidays, stress tends to be multiplied and magnified.  This season the financial situation of many of us will increase the stress.  So much to do and less resources to do what we’re accustomed to do.

Many scientists now believe that prolonged stress, in and of itself, can lead to weight gain in some people.  The focus of attention is the “stress hormone” cortisol.  When you experience physical or emotional stress, the body releases cortisol to help you deal with the threat at hand.   Some of the direct effects of cortisol include increased appetite, higher insulin levels, and breakdown of muscle tissue. Usually, cortisol dissipates after the threat has passed, and the body returns to normal. But if persistent stress keeps cortisol levels high for long periods of time, the effects on the body — including those related to metabolism — become more pronounced.

Some of the effects can include specifically:
– Increased appetite, over a long period of time, can lead to overeating.
– Raised insulin levels cause the body to store more fat.
– Breakdown of muscle tissue can lead metabolism to slow down.

If you are trying to lose weight or maintain your weight, be aware that stress and stress management is very relevant to your goals. Keep your stress in check by developing some healthy coping strategies.  If you can follow some healthy strategies to keep stress in check during the holidays, they can continue into the New Year too.

Some of the best stress-relief strategies include:
*Brisk walking.  Make sure you hit your goal of a minimum of 10,000 steps per day.
*Aerobic exercise, whether at a gym or at home with your favorite dvds.
*Talk to a trusted friend to vent and obtain a third party’s perspective.
*Make regular prayer or meditation a part of your day.  When you feel stress coming on, get quiet and focus on your breathing and practice deep relaxing breathing.
*Take a bubble bath, complete with relaxing music and even candles.
*Read a favorite book and get lost in the story.
*Get enough sleep.
*Listen to your favorite music tunes.
*Watch a movie.
*Distract yourself with your favorite activity and simply allow some “down time.”

The fight or flight stress management isn’t healthy for you or your body.  Plan ahead and create some stress get-aways for yourself.  Don’t let stress control you, your happiness and your weight loss goals.  You can stay in charge by creating your own fall back strategies to use when the stress hits.

Remember, you’re in charge of your stress levels and your weight loss goals.

Believe In Yourself,
Cathy, CLC
Certified Life Coach, Weight Loss Surgery Coach
Certified Back On Track Facilitator

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